This summer, as part of Writers & Company's 20th anniversary celebration, the weekly podcast will feature some of the best shows from the show's archives. We hope you'll enjoy this opportunity to hear these programs that haven't been available as a podcast before.
Every week in July and August, CBC Books will bring you the Writers & Company podcast, an encore presentation of those great full-length conversations.
This week's Writers & Company podcast features Eleanor's 1994 interview with American novelist, poet and screenwriter Jim Harrison. He has published 16 books of prose, 13 of poetry, a couple of essay collections, four screenplays and a 2002 memoir called Off to the Side. The prolific author divides his time between Patagonia, Arizona, and Livingston, Montana.
This interview originally aired on June 9, 1996.
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Jim Harrison is full of surprises. He quotes Wallace Stevens in the epigraph to a collection of essays: "The worst of all things is not to live in a physical world." Growing up in rural Michigan, Harrison has always had a close connection to the natural world, and this affinity stayed with him through his adulthood. A lover of hunting and fishing, he often sets his fiction in those traditional proving-ground landscapes — the north woods or a cattle ranch in the Midwest. In short, Jim Harrison is a man's man and these manly influences have informed his decades of work.
However, when Harrison writes from the perspective of women, as he does in his novel, Dalva, and in the novellas A Woman Lit by Fireflies and
Julip, he's extraordinarily sensitive and subtle. The same qualities are on display in his novella Beige Dolorosa, about a college English professor who loses his job and much of his mind, and recuperates as a ranch hand in the American southwest. Comic and redemptive, Jim Harrison's work subverts the myths of male initiation.
Harrison is a writer full of surprises and contradictions, which is what makes him so wonderful to read — and so wonderful to speak with. Since his interview with Eleanor in 1994, Harrison has published seven novels, two works of non-fiction, one children's book and five collections of poetry, but his keen sense of who he is as a writer and wry observations about the world make this conversation worth listening to again, even nearly two decades later.
The Farmer's Daughter
by Jim HarrisonBuy this book at:
"The Farmer's Daughter
is a memorable portrait of three decidedly unconventional lives. With wit, poignancy, and an unbounded love for his characters, Jim Harrison reminds us again why he is one of the most cherished and important authors at work today..."
Read more at House of Anansi Press